Tyson Fury has put the cat amongst the heavyweight pigeons by agreeing to a hefty co-promotional arrangement that will see him promoted by Top Rank alongside Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. Signing on the dotted line for a deal that could be worth up to $80million over five fights, Fury also reaffirmed his commitment to BT Sport in the UK. This news sent fight fans into a spin on social media and was no doubt met with delirious pleasure in the offices of the WBO as the Warren-Arum relationship strengthened.
By linking up with ESPN, Tyson Fury has added some vital leverage to his side of the negotiations when it comes to bargaining with the likes of Deontay Wilder (a self-labelled free agent but connected to Showtime) and Anthony Joshua (DAZN). With the first Wilder-Fury clash taking place in Los Angeles, and AJ set to defend against Jarrell Miller in New York, the States is well and truly where the money is to be made for the holy trinity of big men.
To satisfy the projected demands of the deal, it is likely that Bob Arum will be looking to plant his newest attraction smack bang in the middle of some hefty pay-per-view attractions. That leads to the question: who are they lining up as sufficient dance partners? Which is why having the three biggest names signed to rival networks presents as many issues logistically as it solves financially.
While the $80million war chest sounds impressive, sceptics will point to the fact that this is boxing after all, so the dust must first settle before we see what’s what. Wasn’t Eddie Hearn ready to detonate all over American boxing, causing havoc with a big cheque book, snapping up huge names left right and centre? How’s that going? Twitter cynics still question the legitimacy of Tyson Fury’s offer to donate all, some or none of his purse from the Deontay Wilder fight to the homeless. Point being: never listen to what people say, watch what they do. Get back in touch in five fights’ time, and we’ll see where the Fury deal has ended up.
Fighting Deontay Wilder for the second time seemed to be on the cards. Regardless of how negotiations were progressing, the fact that Fury and Co have been lured in an alternative direction must be backed by solid financial foundations given the amount he was set to rake in for Wilder Part 2. So what have they offered him? Some have already suggested that it will be lesser opponents for a bucket load of cash. Showtime was expecting a free run at Wilder-Fury 2, but now ESPN will be ready to lock horns and ratchet the amount up a few notches. Kubrat Pulev and Oscar Rivas have both been mentioned. It’s win-win for Fury and Frank.
The crux of the deal calls for Fury to fight more often in the States. Speaking to Max Kellerman on ESPN, Tyson said that one of his goals is to conquer America, and placing his face across one of the biggest sports networks in the world regularly will certainly help the cause. While charismatic outside of the ring, Fury will need to be equally as engaging inside of the ropes if he is to capture the imagination of a geographical area bombarded by various sporting interests on a daily basis. That said, if Floyd Mayweather can carry the pay-per-view torch for the best part of a decade -given his less than appealing style at times- then surely a Tyson Fury that sings after fights and dresses up as Batman for press conferences can generate excitement.